Budget 2017: College of Occupational Therapists Response
Commenting on the announcement of new funding for social care and GP triage in A&E units in the Chancellor’s spring budget, Julia Scott, CEO of the College of Occupational Therapists said:
“I applaud the Chancellor for recognising the acute and urgent need for more investment in social care services. This matters because behind the pound signs and politics are real people struggling to get through each day without the support they desperately need and deserve. We also welcome the decision to look in detail at those areas which are struggling most with delayed discharges. Occupational therapists are unique in working across the boundaries between NHS and Social Care services and can cut stays in acute wards by up to 8.5 days. Occupational therapists make up just 2% of the adult social services workforce but they deal with up to 40% of referrals made to local authorities so our expertise is vital. We would encourage the government to work with us and to look at how increasing investment in occupational therapy services could be the solution to the problems these areas are facing.
"However, it is disappointing that he has taken the decision to invest the entire £100m he announced today to relieve pressure on A&E units into GP triage. Our data also shows that having occupational therapy services working in A&E units and with ambulance services can reduce avoidable admissions by 70-80%. Therefore occupational therapists could be another tool in the NHS’s armoury to reduce the number of people who are admitted to hospital unnecessarily. I would urge the Chancellor to look at this decision again.”